1/13/13

Greetings from a chilly West Des Moines, Iowa…

This past week we had highs in the 40’s, so most of the snow melted.  This weekend the brisk cold air returned and it has not been much above freezing.

We both have been battling colds/flu this past week.  It hit me the hardest and I ended up calling in sick on Monday morning and spending the day in bed.  It really made me feel miserable and very tired.  I made it through the remainder of the work week, but was really dragging ass.  If I was not working from home I would have probably taken additional sick days.  Sitting in front of the computer in sweat pants, taking vitamin-C tablets like candy and downing tons of herbal tea help me through it.  I was still dragging ass all week….  Tired all day, and not sleeping well at night is not a fun combination.

It also did not help that I ended up having to deal with a project gone bad at work.  It tested out fine on the test servers, but did not work properly in production.  It was a real shit-storm to get it corrected because I had to work with two different administration teams to fix – lots of “delegate and wait”.. and I felt like crap… not a fun combination.  Think it is all corrected now…  Hoping I don’t walk into any related messes on Monday…..

The large project I worked most of last year on has been cancelled.  It was a large amount of functionality being added to 14 year old application.  The application was a mess to begin with, and this new project was not working well as we got into development.  It was proving to be very slow and erratic to use.  I put up some red-flags about it in October and development was put on hold then.  The entire application is being re-done using a different platform and the amount of time remaining just did not seem worth it.

It is a mixed blessing to have it finally cancelled.  I can put my talents to work on something “bigger and better”, but almost a years worth of my development time has been wasted.  Worked lots of extra hours and weekends on it…

My annual review with my manger is coming up in the next few weeks.  Review is used to determine any pay increase and bonuses paid out.  Will be interesting to see how this goes with the cancelled project and all…

We had a somewhat busy weekend.  On Saturday morning we went to the Animal Rescue League (ARL) on the south side of Des Moines to attend their volunteer orientation.  We thought it would be something fun to do – be able to go and play with cats that are up for adoption – to help them be more social around people.  The meeting lasted 90 minutes and was attended by around 200 people.  At the end of the meeting everyone lined up to pay $20 to receive a handbook and a required volunteer t-shirt.  We only paid $30.00 because we live at the same address.  The session provided a nice overview of the organization and the additional training sessions we need to attend before actually working with animal.

The ARL has a small location in West Des Moines that would work out well for us to volunteer, but we will need to attend three more training sessions – cat handling, dog handling and site orientation.  The training seems excessive, but guess it helps to weed out people who would not be good volunteers?  After training we will need to volunteer at least two hours a month to keep our volunteer standing.  If it lapses, then we have to re-take the training…  This coming Tuesday they will release the schedule of classes that we can sign up for.  May be a fun way for us to meet new people here in Iowa and get to play with cats…

After the ARL training I had John drive around to get some necessary shopping done.  Bed Bath and Beyond and Petsmart are located next to each other in Urbandale, IA so stopped there first.  Got some cleaning fluid for the Braun electric razor at first place, then crystal cat litter and cat food at the second.  None of the grocery stores carry crystal cat litter – so stuck having to run to the Petsmart for it…

Next stop was to the UPS Store to send my hockey skates to brother Deven in Illinois.  I attempted to use them the prior weekend and they feel too different from my figure skates now.  He will get more use out of them skating with Jet…

By this time John was done with driving me around town so we headed home and I fixed some lunch.  Then Saturday evening John wanted to dine out, so we headed to the Macaroni Grill because we had a gift card for them.  There was a 45 minute wait to be seated, so we walked over to the adjacent Rock Bottom Brewery.  The brewery only had a 20 minute wait so we stayed.  The wait felt more like 30 minutes, but no big deal…

The last time we went to a Rock Bottom Brewery was in downtown Portland, OR- on 8/28/11 to be exact.  I remembered they had really good cajun fish tacos , so ordered them again.  They did not disappoint – were delish served with nicely seasoned black beans and rice. The black beans had a surprising amount of a spicy zing to them.  John had lobster tacos and enjoyed them with a spiced wheat beer. It was one of the better meals we have had at a restaurant here in the Des Moines area.  I ended up driving home 😉

This morning I ended up sleeping in until 8:30am.  Got up and made breakfast for us – sausage, eggs and hash browns.  Then headed to the Valley West Mall to get my hair cut.  They were not very busy so got assigned a stylist right away.  Half way through my cut, the stylist next to where I was sitting started to freak out.  Another client had “bugs” in his hair – assume it was lice.  Icky, icky, ICKY!  Made me want to start itching my own scalp…

Then went to Kohl’s to returns a few items John purchased online but did not like.  Was no problem.  Then managed to find two nice knit sweaters that were 75% off to purchase. Used a gift card I received for Christmas from my Mom to pay for them.  Came to $35.00 – not a bad deal.

This afternoon we went to The Saddle to meet up with Don and Troy at an HIV/AID’s benefit event.  They were having a silent auction and drag show.  We only stayed for 90 minutes because of my ice skating lessons.  John went to the indoor Metro Ice rink with me because he wanted to take pictures with his new camera.  He sat up in the bleachers with the other “ice moms/dads” – was kinda funny.  While my lessons are going on, there is four other groups of lessons going on – mostly pre-school to second grade aged kids….

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My lesson went well.  Still need to work on going backwards on one foot – just not getting the balance right.  As a result I don’t stay on one foot for very long.  Need to get good enough so I can go three lengths of my body on one foot to graduate to the next level….  Have lessons tomorrow night downtown at the Brenton Plaza – so will practice more then.  Yes – I’m taking lessons at two different venues…  I like getting out and getting some exercise…

Not much else going on… going to relax a bit, read, watch TV before heading to bed at 10:00pm.  Looking forward to having a better week at work…

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